Pray for our Nigerian Family

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As a parent of three beautiful daughters, the tragedy of the young girls taken captive in Nigeria is unimaginable. The horrors many of our brethren face in that country are a stark reminder of how blessed we are. Steve Worley who works with the School of Biblical Studies in Jos, Nigeria reports that at least 10 of these young girl’s families were affiliated with the churches of Christ.  Please pray for all of those who have been taken captive; as well as those who have suffered loss in the bombings of bus stations, churches, and villages in Northern Nigeria.  We do ask that you pray daily for these young girls whose names we know, and whose families are striving to serve the Lord in the worst of circumstances: 1) Asabe Lawa, 2) Sarah Nkeki, 3) Lugwa Samuel, 4) Tabitha Sila,  5) Sarava Amos,  6) Hauwa Abdu, 7) Rejoice Shaki, 8) Esther, John, 9) Kauna Lalai, 10) Ruth Fillow.

I have been traveling to Nigeria since 2007. During most of my visits I have felt relatively safe during my travels (I say relatively, because there is always an uncertainty traveling inside of Nigeria). There were two instances when I was reminded of just what a dangerous place Nigeria really is. The first was during a visit to Nigerian Christian Hospital.  I was standing just outside the gate when a disagreement broke out between two families from two neighboring villages. There had been an auto accident and the situation quickly escalated.  Before I realized what was going on I heard the crack of AK47’s as local police officers starting firing into the crowds. I quickly climbed under a station wagon and waited for the situation to settled down (which it did quickly).

troopsThe second occasion was very similar to the visit I will be making this August. There had been unrest in the region and we had even had threats against our staff and students at Nigerian Christian Bible College. Even though we had 4,000 brethren on campus, local police had been hired as additional security and accompanied us during most of our stay. It was particularly awkward when I got up to speak at lectureship one evening and our guards wanted to mount the podium with me. I asked them not to come up, that we would put that situation in God’s hands.  Both of those situations paled in comparison to what others face on a daily basis. Many parents have to make a choice every day when they send their children to school. They want them to get an education, have a better life, but it always comes with the fear and risk of evil-doers tearing their lives apart.

Err on the side of benevolence.” Sometimes when I am dealing with the operations side of mission work I lose sight of the big picture. When I am frustrated things aren’t getting done quickly enough, or to suit my liking, I am reminded of those words.

girls 2I was a young preacher and our congregation was near a freeway. We had so many transients and drifters stopping in asking for help that at times I got a little callous and frustrated. Brother Joe reminded me, “Err on the side of benevolence.”

Nigeria is very, very difficult place to do mission work, for any variety of reasons, but then I am reminded…

* My girls are home and safe from harm.

* My girls have every opportunity for a better life.

* My Nigeria brethren suffer and sacrifice every day.

This is why training Christian men and women is so critical to the future of the church in Nigeria – the gospel is the answer.

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